Two former Nintendo employees have shared their thoughts on why they believe Nintendo is unlikely to ever release an HD version of the popular mascot brawler Super Smash Bros. Melee. Krysta Yang and Kit Ellis left Nintendo in 2022 after numerous years with the company, later establishing a podcast where they discuss a variety of video game industry topics.
On their latest episode, Ellis said a hypothetical Melee HD “makes a lot of sense,” but also remarked that “it’s never going to happen.” Yang added, “It’s absolutely 100% never going to happen.”
Yang went on to say that Melee is surrounded by “negative things” that she believes Nintendo would not want to go anywhere near, like black market emulation and “all this other stuff that Nintendo does not like.”
Ellis said one of the reasons that Nintendo would not pursue making Melee HD is “how annoying the community would be around it. If you change even one miniscule detail about this game, [the community would say], ‘Oh, this game is not viable.'”
It would have to be “pixel-perfect” to get the fans onboard, Ellis said. “You can’t do it.”
“There is no way you can satisfy the zealousness of that community,” Yang added.
Ellis went on to say that he believes Nintendo sees no incentive to make Melee HD, agreeing with Yang that it would cause headaches for the company. Yang said she has “residual trauma” from her time working on the Smash Bros. series at Nintendo. “Dealing with that was truly a nightmare,” she said.
Additionally, Ellis and Yang questioned whether or not Smash Bros. designer Masahiro Sakurai would be up for the challenge of developing a Melee HD and everything that comes with that. “His level of aggression, perfection, passion, coupled with the Melee community… that is like the most toxic relationship you could get into. I think, for his health, he would not make it,” Yang said.
Ellis and Yang also agreed that Sakurai would attempt to veto any move to have another studio make Melee HD.
Officially, Sakurai has stepped away from the Smash Bros. series following the conclusion of Smash Bros. Ultimate’s DLC campaign. He now runs a YouTube channel and posts videos about cats.
The latest Smash Bros. game, Ultimate, has sold more than 30 million copies and is one of the best-selling games for the Switch.
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